PLUMMERS DOUBLE ENDS STAGS CUP HOPES
Blackfield & Langley 2 AFC Totton 1
When the FA Cup draw was made most AFC Totton fans were frustrated at being drawn away to Blackfield & Langley. The Watersiders were promoted from Division One South last season and they have started well in the Bet-Victor Premier South, having strengthened further over the summer. So, we all knew that we had a pretty difficult tie on our hands last night.
The Stags made four changes to the starting eleven that lost narrowly at Winchester City on Tuesday evening. Matt Hartmann and Ollie Bradley came in for Ben Scorey and Lewis Beale as their parent club did not want them cup tied, Jack Smith came in for Gowan Stares, who dropped to the bench and Captain Jack Masterton returned in place of Liam Callaghan, who also dropped to the bench. Alex Cull, Mitchell Byrne and Will Archer were the other three substitutes for Totton.
Totton started the tie well and they were awarded a free kick after two minutes for a foul on Robin Nicholls, Jack Masterton took the kick and Watersiders keeper Lewis Noice collected at the 2nd attempt. A moment later Ollie Bradley put over a cross that Feeney did not quite connect with.
Totton were looking confident in possession and they were not allowing their higher league opponents to dictate the play at all. There were a couple of attacks from the home side, but no clear cut chances were created.
As the half wore on Totton continued to look good on the ball and they were working extremely hard to deny Blackfield time and space. Chances continued to be sparse for either side.
On 24 minutes Craig Feeney tried his luck with a long range shot that didn’t really trouble Noice too much and just after the half hour mark Hisham Kasimu pulled a save out Stags sub keeper Alex Cull who had come on to replace Archie Matthews who had sustained an injury earlier in the half. Kasimu got into the right of the Totton box before shooting low and Cull got down well.
Then a moment after Kasimu’s effort, Totton had an identical chance and it fell to Ollie Bradley and Noice made a save to keep it at 0-0.
Just prior to half time Stags influential midfielder Robin Nicholl’s had to be replaced by Liam Callaghan.
Half Time: Blackfield & Langley 0 AFC Totton 0
The Watersiders made a bright start to the 2nd period and Stags keeper Cull had to deal with a free kick from Fatah Makhloufi. A short while later B&L’s Sam Griffin put a cross over to Connal Morrison, but Morrison scuffed the effort well wide, in fact his shot didn’t even go out of play.
On 50 minutes B&L went 1-0 up following a long ball from the right back position which went over the Totton defence and the lightening quick Rudi Plummer was onto it like a flash and he calmly slipped the ball wide of Cull and into the far corner.
Blackfield then had a long-range effort from Josh Harfield that was dealt with comfortably by Cull, then that man Plummer used his pace once more to pull another save from the Totton keeper. Plummer then turned creator and he crossed for Griffin, who put his effort wide. Then Plummer got in again and this time his effort was blasted wide.
With Blackfield on top they were awarded a penalty on 65 minutes when Jack Smith brought down Plummer in the box. The resulting penalty was taken by Makhloufi, but his shot clipped the right-hand post and went wide. Totton were visibly lifted by the penalty miss.
There was another chance for B&L, which Griffin dragged wide, then Plummer used his pace again to get through one on one with Stags keeper Cull and Cull did well to stop the B&L No 14.
Although B&L had been doing most of the attacking since the break, the Stags had been grafting really hard trying to offer something in attack, but Feeney was looking isolated without Obeng or Beale up alongside him. There had been a half chance for Totton with Feeney going out to the left to pick up a ball and he crossed low into the box where substitute Callaghan connected with a shot that he skewed wide.
Then on 73 minutes the Stags pulled themselves level with Callaghan this time supplying a cross to Feeney, the ball reached the Stags striker via a deflection and FEENEY sent a thunderous strike flying past Noice.
Then on 77 minutes sub Devan Bongou headed wide from a free kick for the hosts.
Totton continued to look threatening and it was just a case of trying to give nothing away in the dying moments. Unfortunately with just four minutes remaining Totton’s Liam Farrugia had the ball taken off him around 35 yards out from the Totton goal and Blackfield made the Stags pay for giving the ball away because before you could blink Plummer smashed home from the right of the box to send the Watersiders through to the next round.
It was a little harsh on Totton who performed very well, and I think that most people in the ground would have thought Totton were worth a replay.
I personally felt for Farrugia because he had a really good game for the Stags, as did most of his teammates. You can see these lads improve each game and they can take great pride in the fact that they performed so well against a decent Bet-Victor Premier outfit. I think the difference between the teams was simply the pace of Plummer, who looks like he can play higher up the pyramid. He is one of the quickest players I have seen in a long time.
Full time: Blackfield & Langley 2 AFC Totton 1
Next up for the Stags is Moneyfields in Bet-Victor Division One at the Testwood Community Stadium on Monday 26th with a 3pm kick off.